Saturday 10 November, 2018

Esther 4:1-17

4 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes. 4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why. 6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. 9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” 12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” 17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

Anyone who has ever faced something overwhelmingly unjust, or a situation where events are completely out of your own control, will have glimpsed Mordecai and Esther’s world. I have never been a royal queen like Esther, but I think at times we all face situations that are much bigger than we are and over which we seem to have no control. It is reasonable to question ‘where is God?’ in the midst of a crisis when feelings are running high. But the answer to that is easy. God is ALWAYS there and has already dealt with everything. Mordecai did not know how, but he definitely knew that God had a plan. He was confident in the big picture – God would rescue the Jews.

So in the middle of the crisis, when there seems to be no hope, are you and I prepared to step up and be brave and trust God? Esther had no way of knowing she wouldn’t be killed for approaching the King, but she was challenged to be brave (ie do it scared but do it anyway) and play her part. The ‘brave’ thing is trusting God, the outworking of that faith and trust is the actions that we take. Esther could have said ‘no’, God would have found another way. But by choosing to step up Esther was rewarded with being able to help save her people and her inspiring actions have gone down in history.

Are we trusting God, regardless of the situation or how we feel? Our challenges may not be as big as Esther’s, but big or small God calls us to trust in Him. Are you and I prepared to be brave and step up to play our part in God’s plans when the time comes?

Lord God help me keep my eyes on you. Help me to be brave and act with your wisdom and grace. Help me Lord to trust in you at all times. In Jesus name. Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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